UK GDP recovers to above pre-pandemic levels

The UK economy recovered to above pre-pandemic levels in November, with growth across all industries, according to figures released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics.
GDP grew 0.9%, up from 0.2% in October and coming in ahead of expectations for 0.4% growth. That left the economy 0.7% above its level in February 2020, just before the first wave of the pandemic hit.

The jump in GDP was due mostly to a 1.1% rise in manufacturing output month-on-month, a 3.5% increase in construction output and a 2.5% rise in professional/scientific activities.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “The economy grew strongly in the month before Omicron struck with architects, retailers, couriers and accountants having a bumper month.

“Construction also recovered from several weak months, as many raw materials became easier to get hold of.

“This meant that monthly GDP exceeded its pre-pandemic level for the first time in November.”

Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “The recent signs that the Omicron wave is starting to subside suggests that GDP will probably rebound in February and March. But growth will then be restrained by the hit from higher taxes and utility prices from 1st April.

“We suspect GDP this year will be weaker than the consensus forecast. But our forecast that CPI inflation will rise to almost 7% in April explains why we think Bank Rate will be raised four times this year, from 0.25% to 1.25%.”

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